Phase 2 completed of British Woodlands Survey 2017

posted on March 3, 2017

Following a successful stakeholder workshop yesterday in Edinburgh, we have completed Phase 2 of the British Woodlands Survey.

The 40+ delegates from workshops held in Oxford, Grantham, Machynlleth and Edinburgh have worked together to prioritise the themes for the main survey, which will launch in June. They also identified priorities for each country, which we will use in the survey to question stakeholders about key issues of regional or country significance.

Summary results of the four workshops are shown in the graph below — it is interactive so hovering your mouse of the bars will reveal more information. Note that the two English workshops have been combined.

The top GB-wide theme was Societal Attitudes, followed by Climate Change Adaptation and Pests & Diseases. It is interesting to note how much contrast there was between some countries for certain themes; for example the low important attributed to Tree Planting in Wales, and Managing for Carbon in England. These results will help us in concentrating questions in the survey to fit with themes or priorities considered most important across GB and its countries.


We are very grateful to all the participants, hosts and funders for helping make these workshops so productive.

Read more at or read previous news below:

Helping shape the future of forestry

1 Comment

  1. I see that societal attitudes was the number one topic. I do not see trees in the planning system anywhere amongst these topics. Is this because the recent discussions about NPPF with regard to protection for veteran trees and ancient woodland is considered to cover that? I am a community volunteer tree officer and it breaks my heart that time-and-time again individual trees, including valuable old specimens, with TPOs do not seem to be protected from indiscriminate management. Often District Council tree officers do not visit sites and base decisions on written submissions in tree works applications, most of which do not even include photographs, site plans (a hand drawn sketch if you are lucky) or details of work and how it is to be conducted. Planning permissions appear to trump the ‘rights’ of any tree, even if ‘protected’. Damage is being done to individual trees and woodland by inappropriate/over-management. There is weak enforcement of rules due to lack of funding and cuts in local authorities. If residents buy houses with mature specimens with TPOs there should be much greater insistence on certain standards and a duty of care on householders to protect those trees. There can be no assumption that simply because a tree is dropping a lot of leaves in your garden – say a mature oak – or creating shade on your south-facing patio it can be butchered with topping/pollarding and crown thinning or even removed. I wish I could say that the majority of people felt passionately about (large) trees in their vicinity, but I get the impression that many regard them as nuisances, i.e. not in my back yard, but perfectly okay if a few kilometres away and hosting a pretty bluebell-rich ground flora. Once removed, there seems to be not a great deal of motivation/compulsion to replace/re-plant. I would be interested to know more about ways to change societal attitudes at local level.

    Comment by Sophie Bennett — April 27, 2017 @ 9:40 am

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